How to Teach Kids to Stand Up for Themselves

Life isn’t always fair. While it’s not the most pleasant fact to accept, it’s something you’ll need to teach your child sooner or later. While playing fair is a value that should be encouraged, accepting that others won’t always act this way is also necessary. The chances are they’ll experience conflict from the moment they begin socializing with peers. And when the situation calls for it, they’ll need to know how to hold their ground and stand up for themselves confidently. 

Prepare your little one for the world by teaching them the importance of confidence and resilience. There are excellent ways to get them ready to defend themselves and equip them with effective protective strategies.

  • Start before they join a group

If you’re planning for them to start nursery school, you can begin preparing your child for any potential challenges. Tell them what to do if they have a disagreement with another child or if someone is being aggressive. Let them know what behaviors on behalf of peers are unacceptable and should be reported to you or a teacher. Still, make sure that you mostly focus on the positives of interacting with other children because you want them to have a positive attitude toward making friends.

  • Prepare them to respond physically

While children should always be taught to react in a non-violent manner and avoid physical altercations at all costs, there may be times when they’ll have to strike back in self-defense. To make them stronger, make sure they have regular physical activity. It can be anything from swimming to jumping on a trampoline at a neighborhood playground, whatever they enjoy doing. Signing them up for martial arts classes can be especially beneficial because they’ll learn how to dodge and block punches. Emphasize that their goal is to stop the attack and defend  themselves, no hurt the other person.

  • Promote assertiveness

Your child will grow up to be self-assured and resilient if you encourage these traits from a young age. Avoid harsh punishments for defiance or misbehavior because this can make children fearful and timid. Instead, give them plenty of praise when they deserve it, always saying what specific behavior you’re praising them for. Listen to them and talk to them as an equal, respecting their opinions and individuality. Give them chances to challenge themselves and succeed since this will also give them a big confidence boost. Finally, make sure they know how much you love them and how proud you are of them no matter what they do.

  • Role-play tricky situations

Role-playing can provide children with specific examples of real-life problems and make them think of possible solutions. Think of possible instances where conflict may arise, such as when a child takes a toy away from them, and teach them how to react. Together you can think of comebacks and other tactics to help them cope. Always encourage non-violent, de-escalating responses to provocations. With these types of activities, you’ll see how your child would react in highly charged interactions, which will show you what to work on.

  • Check how they’re doing

Regularly talk to them about school to figure out how well they’re doing socially. Most children are embarrassed about having trouble fitting in their friend group or being bullied. If you don’t start the conversation, the chances are they won’t do it on their own. Sometimes, you’ll need to read between the lines and prod carefully to understand exactly what’s going on. Once you know, provide support and start solving the problem together.